Microsoft announced that its Azure and Office 365 cloud service became the first commercial cloud to be awarded Impact Level 5 DoD Provisional Authorization by the Defense Information Systems Agency, which allows the cloud to store the most sensitive, controlled, unclassified information. Microsoft also announced general availability of the service to all validated Department of Defense customers.






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The U.S. Education Department launched the EdSim Challenge on Wednesday for simulation-based learning solutions. The cash prize pool includes $680,000 with additional winnings from IBM, Microsoft, Oculus, and Samsung. The challenge asks virtual reality specialists, video game developers, and education professionals to create ideas for educational simulations that would prepare students for future careers.






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Over the past few years, many government agencies have turned from doubting and distrusting the cloud to fully embracing its potential, according to Microsoft executives.






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The Department of Justice appealed the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in favor of Microsoft that said American service providers are not required to honor warrants seeking data outside the United States. In this case, which was decided in July, the data the DOJ was asking for belonged to a non-U.S. citizen and was stored in a data center in Ireland.






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Microsoft on Tuesday announced new advancements to its government cloud offerings, which will expand its ability to store Department of Defense data and increase the number of regions in which their data centers are available.






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The General Services Administration announced that the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Government was issued a Provisional Authority to Operate by the Joint Authorization Board on Sept. 22, the first product to receive one through the new FedRAMP Accelerated program.






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